The appearance or the experience of essence can happen sometimes without the individual going through the inner work of understanding and without experiencing the deficiency. This happens in isolated instances and usually has no lasting effect on the personality. It also can happen if the individual is associating with another who embodies the essence. This is the customary situation of disciples with their teachers and guides. If the disciple is open enough or is capable of empathic identification with his or her teacher, or most likely when the disciple is able to merge with the consciousness of the teacher, he or she might at certain times experience essence in some of its aspects.

This is, in fact, one of the main methods of transmission used by many teachers. It is sometimes referred to as initiation. However, as we have already pointed out, this is an isolated instance and does not mean the disciple has made the essence his own yet. Usually, the personality comes back and clamps down on the new openness. This is expected, because if essence is activated, it will bring out from the unconscious all of the psychological material associated with it, the material that led to its loss. If the individual does not then deal with this material, it will just bury the essence again, as it did in the first place. This is why work systems that do not have a methodology of working through the unconscious aspects of the personality are inefficient, even though the teacher might know and even embody the essence.

The disciples come to the presence of the teacher or guru, merge with his consciousness, and experience the essence, but they cannot take it with them. They leave it with the teacher because it is still his. This usually leads to a condition of dependency on and idealization of the teacher, which is contrary to the whole point of inner development.

“Almaas demystifies enlightenment, helping us to see it, not as some mysterious event, but rather as a down-to-earth, understandable process with definite stages and sign posts–a process in which the personality gradually releases its grip on our being, and allows essence to emerge and transform the personality itself. Essence is a revolutionary book in its synthesis of Western and Eastern approaches to psychological and spiritual development.” Yoga Journal


  • Presence and Essence
  • Essence
  • The Loss of Essence
  • The Retreival of Essence
  • The Development of Essence

The Elixir of Enlightenment: “An excellent introduction to the process of true Spiritual training.”

A.H. Almaas answers the question, “Why do most people on spiritual paths fail to attain what they seek?” by exploring the active relationship between personality and Essence as it inspires and impedes the search. In the light of his own contemporary Diamond Approach, he examines the teachings of Krishnamurti, Rajneesh, and Buddhism, providing invaluable insight for students and teachers on any path.

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